Hyderabad: The city-based Ethic Sports Foundation achieved an envious distinction on Saturday by bringing together an assemblage that is inarguably the finest in Hyderabad’s sports history. Perhaps no award ceremony or felicitation held till date can match up with this unique one-of-a-kind line up that featured outstanding achievers from diverse disciplines, belonging to bygone eras and those from the current generation.
(From left) Sports columnist G Rajaraman, grand old man of Hyderabad journalism N Ganeshan and the multi-faceted Novy Kapadia at a panel discussion
On show were sentiment-driven emotions, trips down memory lane and nostalgic anecdotes, pep talks and thought-provoking discussions by participants who have been there and done that. Each has brought glory to the city with extraordinary feats on the world’s biggest stages. To the upstarts and greenhorns, this could possibly be the most educative session they will ever participate.
It was, without a shade of doubt, the best tribute paid to SA Rahim, the coach extraordinaire, who created the golden era of Indian football and whose legacy will remain eternally motivational.
For a change, there was no cricketer around and that was what rendered poetic justice and came across as a true-blue salutation to the unsung, obscure and long forgotten heroes or those who were never given their due share by the authorities in their halcyon days. To this category belongs the amazing array of footballers that Hyderabad has produced.
Those who were present to celebrate Rahim Saab legacy included T Balaram, Zulfiqaruddin, MSS Hameed, DMK Afzal, SS Hakeem, Victor Amalraj, Mohd Habib and Shabbir Ali, whose dribbling and skills in their playing days are legacies that are worth emulating as they ran close to the best of contemporary international standards.
Also gracing the glittering evening were those who distinguished themselves in other disciplines, including Emani Chiranjeevi, N Mukesh Kumar, Edwards Alloysius, Mir Khasim Ali, Ismail Baig, Md Rizwan, Maxwell Trevor, Omkarnath Yadav, and women torch-bearers like G Mulini Reddy, JJ Shobha and Mangala Desai, apart from scores of past and present kabaddi players.
And then there were two ‘veterans’ who stole the show-SM Arif and the grand old man of Hyderabad journalism, N Ganesan, who fascinated everyone while recalling the glory days of Rahim Saab, whom he was ‘privileged to see in action in life and blood’.
Of course, the two masters of the ceremonies, the ever-articulate Novy Kapadia (one cannot think of a major football spectacle without him) and the young and energetic Kailash Nath Yadav, Managing Director of Ethic Sports Foundation, who conceptualised the momentous event that was inaugurated by Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan.
Suffice to say that it was a Saturday Night Fever that none of those fortunate enough to make it would forget in their lifetime.